Aims To investigate how nursing experts and experts from other health professions understand the concept of rationing/missed/unfinished nursing care and how this is compared at a cross-cultural level. Design The mixed methods descriptive study. Methods The semi-structured questionnaires were sent to the sample of 45 scholars and practitioners from 26 countries. Data were collected from November 2017-February 2018. Results Assigning average cultural values to participants from each country revealed three cultural groups: high individualism-high masculinity, high individualism-low masculinity and low individualism-medium masculinity. Content analysis of the findings revealed three main themes, which were identified across cultural clusters: (a) projecting blame for the phenomenon: Blaming the nurse versus blaming the system; (b) intentionality versus unintentionality; and (c) focus on nurses in comparison to focus on patients. Conclusion Consistent differences in the understanding of missed nursing care can be understood in line with the nation's standing on two main cultural values: individualism and masculinity. Impact The findings call for scholars' caution in interpreting missed nursing care from different cultures, or in comparing levels and types of missed nursing tasks across nations. The findings further indicated that mimicking interventions to limit missed nursing care from one cultural context to the other might be ineffective. Interventions to mitigate the phenomenon should be implemented thoughtfully, considering the cultural aspects.